Kurt von Meier

  • An Interview with Dewain Valentine

    WHEN YOU WERE A KID . . .

    When I was a kid I used to collect rocks. I had a friend who was a stone polisher, and he would polish them for me. I think the interest in transparency and such goes way back—I was in junior high school then. Let’s see, that would make it about nineteen fifty . . . fifty . . . Anyway, I was making things. I did a lot of polyester jewelry—cast, transparent things. It’s really tied up with a lot of funny and funky things that go way back.

    What happened about the time you got into your earlier big pieces of sculpture like the fiberglass discs? They are opaque, but is that

  • Houston

    George Ade, America’s great humorist from the Midwest, used to capitalize all words that were suspiciously capable of multiple meanings or innuendoes. This caution leads to difficult typography, but it provides a good. model for art criticism. We can write with an easy conscience about “Abstract Expressionism” by thinking of it as “AE” in capitals, even though critics have long realized that some of the major painters associated with the movement may be neither/nor. Perhaps the most successful effort to bypass the problem of terminology came from Harold Rosenberg, who suggested “Action Painting”

  • Surrealism and Architecture

    ONE OF THE GREAT GAMES of architectural history, both fun and revealing, is to place ourselves in the dusty shoes of archaeologists 1000 years from now. Digging through the millennial rubble of Los Angeles, what if we were to unearth in tact the Perpetual Savings and Loan Association Building, at 9720 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, by Edward Durrell Stone? Suppose also that the relieving (and humanizing) feature of Harry Bertoia’s fountain has still not been reinstalled by this time. What kind of sense (stylistic, esthetic, historical, social, cultural, etc.) could we possibly make out of

  • “Surrealism”

    Art Movements, Like old soldiers, never die: they just fade away. Or sometimes, just when we think they have finally disappeared, they march back in like conquering Caesars from the provinces of near oblivion. Just so with Surrealism, returned to our consciousness by the exhibition entitled “Surrealism: A State of Mind (1924–1965),” initiated and presented by the Art Gallery of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in conjunction with a showing of earlier Surrealist works at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

    Now that we are far enough removed for a revival of interest in Surrealism to

  • Art Treasures from Japan

    FOR SIX AUTUMN WEEKS (September 29 to November 7, 1965) the Los Angeles County Museum of Art showed some 150 individual works of art gathered from the Imperial Household Collection, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, museums and collections, both public and private, throughout Japan. This exhibition, entitled “Art Treasures from Japan,” was a delightful smattering of sometimes magnificent pieces; but it demonstrated no clear organizing mentality, little sense of unity or purpose, and elicited no clear effect or response. Not that the display of beautiful or highly-valued objects always needs some